BTEC Science at KS5

In Year 12 students complete the BTEC Level 3 National Certificate in Applied Science. The content is taught in tutorials, laboratory based sessions and by assignments. It involves considerable practical work as well as study of vocational working environments.

The certificate consists of two mandatory units which must both be passed:

Unit 1: Principles and Applications of Science This unit is assessed through a written exam worth 90 marks, which is set and marked by Pearson. The exam lasts one hour and 30 minutes.

The paper is split into three sections, each worth 30 marks:

Section A: Biology - Structure and functions of cells and tissues

Section B: Chemistry - Periodicity and properties of elements

Section C: Physics - Waves in communication

The paper will include a range of question types, including multiple choice, calculations, short answer and open response. These question types will assess discrete knowledge and understanding of the content in this unit. The exam will be sat in June. One re-sit is available.

Unit 2: Practical Scientific Procedures & Techniques.

This is an internally assessed unit based on the following practical assignments:

A         Undertake titration and colorimetry to determine the concentration of solutions

B         Undertake calorimetry to study cooling curves
C         Undertake chromatographic techniques to identify components in mixtures
D         Review personal development of scientific skills for laboratory work.

The unit is assessed completely by coursework including practical log books, laboratory reports, presentations and portfolios.


In Year 13 students study the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science. This also consists of two units:

Unit 3: Science Investigation Skills.

In this unit, learners will cover the stages involved and the skills needed in planning a scientific investigation. The unit is assessed through a written task worth 60 marks. In order to complete the written task, learners obtain results and observations from the practical investigation which is set by Pearson and is completed in one sitting. This is followed by a supervised assessment session lasting one hour and 30 minutes, timetabled by Pearson.

The exam will be sat in January. One re-sit is available.

Optional Unit

The qualification is completed with one internally assessed unit that is chosen for the learner from options such as physiology, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry or electrical circuits.